Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy? This is a question we get asked often and the answer ultimately comes down to individual circumstance. However, for many women chiropractic care during pregnancy provides a drug-free alternative for pain relief and overall well-being.

Understanding Pregnancy-Related Musculoskeletal Pain

For 90% of women, pregnancy often brings about musculoskeletal pain. This discomfort is intricately linked to the biomechanical changes your body makes to accommodate the growing baby. Along with maternal weight gain and the rise in the relaxin hormone, causing ligament laxity. (1) Unfortunately, this type of pain is frequently dismissed as a normal part of pregnancy, given it doesn’t pose serious risks for the baby or mother. This leads many women to endure pain without seeking  care. (1, 2) Timely and appropriate care, however, can be crucial in preventing chronic pain. Up to 75% of women still experience pain six months post-birth, and 20% have pain up to three years later. (2, 3) Despite the prevalence of pregnancy-related pain, only half of pregnant women seek treatment. In Australia, 20% of pregnant women turn to chiropractors for pain relief, recognising the potential benefits. (4)

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy

Chiropractors employ a multi-modal approach to alleviate pregnancy-related musculoskeletal pain, commonly felt in the mid or lower back, pelvis, and wrists. Chiropractors may use manual therapies, such as spinal manipulative therapy (adjustments) and soft tissue techniques (massage), as well as active approaches to facilitate expecting mothers to move and exercise and self-manage their pain. This may include supportive tools such as pillows, pregnancy belts, and heat packs during pregnancy. (2) This multi-modal chiropractic care exhibits moderate to favourable outcomes in reducing pain and improving function. (5, 6) Additionally moving and exercise, particularly group-based activities such as yoga, cardio, or resistance exercise have shown significant benefits in enhancing a pregnant women’s quality of life. (7)

Common Concerns with Chiropractic care during Pregnancy

We approach the care of pregnant and post-natal mothers with an abundance of caution.  The biggest concern often surrounds the ‘cracking’ noise during an adjustment and the perceived impact this has on the baby. (3) See this post on “Are chiropractic adjustments safe?” to find out more. However, if this is still a concern, we have other tools we can use and do not need to use spinal manipulative therapy in your care. Other concerns are the pro-thrombic state and increased ligament laxity during pregnancy, both of which we take into consideration when deciding the best approach of care for pregnant and post-natal mothers. (8) Adverse events are rare and the majority of reported events are minor (e.g. tiredness, soreness) and transient (i.e. fully resolved over time). Though, it’s essential to acknowledge the current available evidence on the safety and efficacy of chiropractic care for pregnant women is still evolving, it is appropriate to trial a period of individualised chiropractic care to assess whether it can provide symptomatic relief for you. (1) So that you can go on to enjoy the remainder of your pregnancy.

Promoting Informed Decision-Making

Open communication is key between pregnant women, chiropractors, and healthcare professionals. Every pregnancy is unique, and individual health conditions vary. Preferences and safety concerns should be addressed collaboratively. Chiropractic care, when modified and adapted to suit individual needs and preferences, can significantly contribute to a positive change in the quality of life for many pregnant women. While there are situations where caution and medical advice are paramount, such as vaginal bleeding, abdominopelvic cramping, sudden onset pelvic pain, pregnancy-related hypertension or preeclampsia, and traumatic pelvis injury (e.g., car accidents or falls), seeking out qualified and experienced chiropractors with expertise in prenatal care remains a valuable consideration during pregnancy.


Adverse events from spinal manipulations in the pregnant and postpartum periods: a systematic review and update

Best-Practice Recommendations for Chiropractic Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Patients: Results of a Consensus Process

Drivers, barriers, and response to care of Australian pregnant women seeking chiropractic care for low back and pelvic girdle pain: a qualitative case study

Healthcare practitioner utilisation for back pain, neck pain and/or pelvic pain during pregnancy: an analysis of 1835 pregnant women in Australia

Chiropractic Care for Adults With Pregnancy-Related Low Back, Pelvic Girdle Pain, or Combination Pain: A Systematic Review

Comparative Efficacy and Safety of Conservative Care for Pregnancy-Related Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis

Effects of exercise on pregnant women’s quality of life: A systematic review

Chiropractic care for the pregnant body